Camp Randall Stadium is undergoing its share of renovations this offseason. One of the projects included a nod to the program’s rich history on the front of the luxury boxes on the east side of the stadium. The three-level tribute features the program’s retired numbers, on top, the team’s Big Ten titles, in the middle, and its Rose Bowl appearances, on bottom. See a picture, courtesy of uwcoachstrick, in this post.
We’d seen Michigan’s 2012 Sugar Bowl rings online well before Big Ten Media Days last week in Chicago. And now we’ve seen them in-person. Take it from us, they are impressive – not to mention rather big. Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs proudly wore the ring on his right ring finger throughout the two-day event. See a close-up picture of the hardware Michigan earned with its victory over Virginia Tech in this post.
Everyone, it seems, enjoys mock drafts. And it’s easy to see why. Not only do they create interest and offer predictions, but they often elicit passionate responses. You know the complaints and arguments: that guy’s too high, this guy’s better than that guy, etc. Well, we thought it would be fun to do a 2012 Big Ten football mock draft. How does it work? We invited a writer from all 12 Big Ten teams to conduct the six-round draft, consisting of QB, WR, RB, TE, Defensive player and K.
Northwestern opened Big Ten Media Days in Chicago by unveiling its new uniforms, and Nebraska closed the two-day event by releasing its new alternate uniform. The Huskers will wear the new adidas red-on-red uniform, plus a new black helmet, for the Big Ten opener Sept. 29 against Wisconsin, which also will wear an adidas alternate uniform that has yet to be unveiled. See a picture and YouTube video of the new uniform in this post.
Bill O’Brien created quite the stir when he hinted at possible Penn State uniform changes during Thursday’s first session of Big Ten Media Days. With the recent changes going on at Penn State, it seems plausible that the team would entertain such a decision.
Like his teammates and rivals in attendance at Big Ten Media Days on Friday, Minnesota linebacker Keanon Cooper was dressed to the nines. It’s a safe bet he was the only one doing so in his grandfather’s threads, though.
Don’t envy everything about Wisconsin’s Ricky Wagner. Yes, the left tackle is one of the Badgers’ perennial can’t-miss Big Uglies, but he and the rest of the Big Ten offensive linemen have their work cut out for them in 2012.
The first session of the 2012 Big Ten Football Media Days is in the books. Catch up on all the happenings from Thursday’s festivities at the Hyatt McCormick Place with my media day notebook in this post. Also, check out my interview with former Michigan walk-on and current standout Jordan Kovacs. And don’t forget that we’re back at it again Friday morning. Have a question you want me to ask you favorite Big Ten player or coach? Tweet it to me (@BTNBrentYarina).
After months of hype and anticipation, Northwestern football finally unveiled its new Under Armour uniforms Thursday morning. The team that calls itself Chicago’s Big Ten Team made a Chicago-style statement with its new threads. What makes the new look so bold is something the school calls the “Northwestern Stripe,” a thick horizontal stripe that runs across the front and back of the jersey. See a photo of the new uniform and vote on whether you like it in this post.
During my time at BTN.com, I’ve done countless football and men’s basketball power rankings. But I’ve never combined the two as a way to rank the Big Ten’s football-basketball programs. Until now, that is. What criteria did I consider while ranking the Big Ten schools, you ask? I took into account how the schools fared in football and basketball during the 2011-12 season, how they will fare in 2012-13, all while putting an equal value on football and basketball success or failure.
The Illini basketball team has the state of Illinois outlined at midcourt at Assembly Hall. Many other college arenas do the same with the outlines of their states. The practice, for whatever reason, isn’t as popular in football stadiums across the nation – Indiana does it. Make it two Big Ten teams now. @IlliniAthletics tweeted a picture of the team’s new field design, and it includes the outline of the state of Illinois at midfield. Just like the basketball team. See the photo in this post.
Big Ten media days kick off Thursday in Chicago, so I thought I’d release my preseason Big Ten player rankings. I’m going to do these a little different this year. In previous years, I’d rank the top 10 players, which often became a tough task with all the talent on both sides of the ball. To account for both sides, I’ll rank the top six offensive and defensive players each week.
Already debuting new football uniforms for the 2012 season, the Minnesota Gophers also will introduce a pair of new patches to their jerseys. Like the rest of the Big Ten, the Gophers will don the rectangular “B1G” logo patch on their jerseys. Above the conference-wide patch, they will honor late former teammate Gary Tinsley with a black circular patch that reads: “GT 51”. @GopherGridiron tweeted a picture of the patches, and you can see them in this post.
In a world where it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with all of the uniform changes going on across the college football landscape, Penn State is a breath of fresh air. With the exception of a minor detail here or there, Penn State’s uniform looks a lot like it did in our grandfather’s day. But with all the changes going on around the school, is this the time for the team to finally alter its look?
Michigan opens the 2012 football season in grand fashion, playing reigning national champ Alabama at Jerry World in Dallas. To commemorate the highly anticipated game, the Wolverines will don a new alternate uniform, designed by adidas, which the school released Monday night. According to MGoBlue.com, the uniform is a one-time thing, meaning Michigan will wear its traditional home and away uniforms the rest of the regular season. See MGoBlue.com’s picture of the uniform in this post.
From this day forward, Joe Paterno’s final win is Penn State’s 35-10 victory over Wisconsin on Nov. 22, 1997. That’s the case because Mark Emmert and the NCAA vacated all of Penn State’s victories from 1998-2011 as part of their sanctions against the school in the wake of the Freeh Report findings. @Ben_Jones88 tweeted a photo of the game program from that now historical1997 game, and, interestingly enough, its headline reads: “End of the Line.” See the photo in this post.
Whether you like it or not, get used to the Big Ten’s “B1G” logo. This fall, every football team will wear the logo on its jerseys (here’s a look at Illinois’ patch) and it also will appear on the teams’ fields. @AdamWidman, assistant director of athletics communications at Ohio State, tweeted a picture of the freshly added logos at Ohio Stadium. They sit at the 25-yard line on each side of the field.
How do you know you’re a big deal? When your likeness is plastered on a vending machine, that’s how. Former Wisconsin defensive end and current Houston Texan J.J. Watt now knows the feeling. The ex-Badger is featured on a vending machine that @JJWFoundation tweeted Thursday. Watt’s Twitter response: “Wow. I hope it dispenses sacks at will.”
Is it possible for the Big Ten’s best football player to be underrated? I ask only because I think Montee Ball is being slighted by media and non-Wisconsin fans alike entering the 2012 season. Yes, I’m saying the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist is underrated. Plain and simple, the senior back who’s fresh off a season in which he scored 39 – 39!!! – touchdowns and ran for 1,923 yards isn’t getting the respect he deserves.
The Summer of Steele continued Wednesday, as well-respected prognosticator Phil Steele posted his favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. Few things are more meaningless and yet hugely popular than preseason Heisman hopefuls — or preseason polls, for that matter — so don’t treat this as science. Steele’s list of the top 10 candidates, to no surprise, includes Montee Ball and Denard Robinson. See what Steele says about the two Big Ten stars in this post.
Now that the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided to put the kibosh on its scheduling plan across all sports, the Big Ten has a decision to make when it comes to future football schedules. Will the conference remain at eight conference games, or will it move to nine? Prior to the previous announcement with the Pac-12, it looked like the Big Ten was entertaining the latter.
Like many of us, Big Ten products are all over Twitter. They let us into their lives and put their personalities on display in 140 characters or less, and they often delight and enlighten in the process. Our goal is to present these tweets to our Big Ten fans, whether they’re on Twitter or not. See some of our favorite Big Ten-centric tweets from Monday in this post.
TheBigLead.com’s Jason McIntyre posted his list of the 50 best players in college basketball for the 2012-2013 season Friday, and Indiana rising sophomore Cody Zeller topped the list. Zeller beat out highly touted UCLA recruit Shabazz Muhammad for the No. 1 spot and was one of seven Big Ten players who made the cut. See the entire Big Ten list in this post.
Team USA tips off its Olympic training slate with its first exhibition game Thursday in Las Vegas. USA is stacked, per usual, and it’s the favorite to win gold next month in London. With the action about to start, I got to thinking: what if Team USA was comprised of only former Big Ten players, starting with the 2007-08 season (the BTN era)? See what my 12-man roster would look like in this post.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are expected to wear a patch on their jerseys this season honoring the late Gary Tinsley. They’ll also have an impressive mural in the team locker room dedicated to their former teammate. @GopherGridiron tweeted a picture of the mural Wednesday, saying: “Gary Tinsley is going to be with us in ’12.”